Unique grant opportunity for small businesses

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it some tough and challenging times for local businesses. However, there is some support out there through relief funding programs.

One such program is the partnership between Lowe’s and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), who are now offering a unique grant opportunity for rural communities. The applications are being done in rounds with the current application period of Sept. 28 through Oct. 5.

“As part of our continuing commitment to elevate our impact in rural America, LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe's Rural Relief Small Business Grants program,” the LISC said in its online announcement about the grant opportunity.

According to the program, grants will be made in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

The LISC said it will use the funding to provide grants to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19.

The grant can be used for:

Payables to include rent and utilities

Meeting payroll (to include the applicant)

Paying outstanding debt to vendors

Other immediate operational costs

According to its website, the LISC “is one of the country's largest social enterprises supporting projects and programs to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents.”

According to the current eligibility rules, only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time.

The program defines rural communities as having a population of 50,000 or less.

A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located,” the LISC said in its announcement. “If the business is mobile (a food truck, fishing boat, ride share driver, etc) please use the address where your vehicle is stored during non-business hours.”

These grants do not need to be repaid. However, all taxes associated with the acceptance and/or uses of cash awarded are the sole responsibility of the individual grantee.

“We will support small businesses and enterprises affected by Covid-19 across the country, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital,” the LISC’s announcement said.

Here is a link to learn more about the LISC Grant Program:https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/rural-relief-small-business-grants/#faq

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